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The Algarve, Portugal

UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 26 August 2011 | Views [507]

The beautiful empty beach stretches out in front of me as I turn the corner from harbour. All I can hear was the waves in the distance as the gently lap the sand and my flip flops tapping on the boardwalk as I walk towards the horizon. The sun shines down on me, caressing my skin with its hot rays. This is bliss. Portugal’s Algarve is such a welcoming and tranquil place to visit, I mean, this could be the final scene to a rom-com.

 

I was introduced to this place by my boyfriend’s family who told me stories of wild orange groves, amazing coast and fresh food. And wow did it deliver. I stayed in a town house in the centre of Olhão which is on the Algarve coast. The town is full of character due to the Moorish style buildings, influenced by Portugal’s old trading links with Africa. This beautiful stone building was full of large rooms, a courtyard covered in exotic plants and best of all a rooftop swimming pool from where you could watch as swallows danced in the air. During term time part of the house doubles up as an art school (see http://www.artinthealgarve.com/the-art-school) which means the house is full of unique paintings which add to the character of the house.

 

Olhão is the largest fishing port in the Algarve and has an incredible daily market, not only selling fresh fish, but fruit, vegetables, meats and cheeses. It had me captivated as I wandered between the traders. The people smile at me as I look at the local produce. Along the harbour are little restaurants, all serving the fresh food from the market: this is food at its best, simple and fresh.

 

Olhão itself doesn’t have any beaches so you have to catch a ferry to a choice of small islands only 10 minutes (and a euro) away. Which is how I ended up here: lying on the deserted beach with nothing but a book as I look out across the sea trying to see where the sea and the sky combine.

 

While Portugal still remains one of the poorest countries in the EU it is full of personality and the people are some of the friendliest I have come across. The lifestyle allows you to relax and enjoy everything and everyone in your life. As I stand on the beach I can’t help but think I wish this was my home.

Tags: algarve, portugal

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